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'Delay’ suddenly not a dirty word at White House

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Buzz Cut:
• ‘Delay’ suddenly not a dirty word at White House
• More ObamaCare disruptions ahead
• Supremes take global warming case
• Trumka warns Dems on entitlements
• Ah, hipsters

WHITE HOUSE OPENS DOOR TO OBAMACARE DELAY - As the federal government teetered on the brink of shutdown at the end of last month, the White House and Senate Democrats flatly refused a Republican emergency spending bill that would have kept the government open but delayed ObamaCare’s requirement that individuals purchase health insurance by March 31 or face a fine. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid responded to a GOP counteroffer by saying Republicans had “lost their minds.” But after an epic failure of a launch for the new health insurance entitlement and with the partial shutdown over, “delay” suddenly isn’t a dirty word anymore. With many of those subject to the fine unable to sign up due to manifold botches in the enrollment process, Democrats are warming up to the idea.

[A new ABC/WaPo poll finds 54 percent of respondents believe the problems plaguing ObamaCare’s Web site reflect a larger problem with President Obama’s signature entitlement program.]

Delay tactics - After President Obama owned up to the fact that the main Web site for enrollment is not working as it should, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked if the administration is looking for flexibility in applying the mandate. Carney indicated that a delay was not just possible, but that it may already be allowed by the law: “The law is clear that if you do not have access to affordable health insurance then you will not be asked to pay a penalty because you haven’t purchased affordable health insurance.” It would stand to reason that if the president claims the power to delay the fines for large employers by a year, as he already did, he could claim the power to pardon individuals.

[“Your website is so f***ed we have use the same strategy that we used to salvage the Iraq war?” – Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart discussing President Obama’s announced “tech surge” to repair the ObamaCare Web site.]

It’s no wonder - The sudden nonchalance about delay from the administration is no doubt galling to Republicans who got jammed on a government shutdown, but the real question is what happens next? Will the president delay the mandate, risking further premium spikes for those already covered as insurance companies contend with a flood of sick and poor customers they are now forced to accept? Will Republicans up their ask in the next round of budget battles and seek a full delay of the unimplemented portions of the law? Whatever happens, it’s clear that the Web site bungle is going to be way more than a glitch.

SEBELIUS WILL TESTIFY… EVENTUALLY - Fox News has learned that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will testify before a House committee on Oct. 30 about the failure of the ObamaCare Web site. Sebelius refused to testify at a House hearing this week, citing a scheduling conflict. A Hill source tells Fox News First that the delay smacks of “foot dragging.” Said the top congressional aide: “She wants to get her stories straight. But there’s no way to spin this disaster.”

[Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, whom he deemed “a national embarrassment,” should be fired. The Richmond Times-Dispatch has more.]   

FAILURE, CHAOS AHEAD OF OBAMACARE LAUNCH - WaPo reports: “Days before the launch of President Obama’s online health ­insurance marketplace, government officials and contractors tested a key part of the Web site to see whether it could handle tens of thousands of consumers at the same time. It crashed after a simulation in which just a few hundred people tried to log on simultaneously. Despite the failed test, federal health officials plowed ahead.” The AP details a frantic scramble to launch the Web site. Work was rushed and not tested by private developers who had more expertise. Anonymous developers told the wire service that they raised doubts over whether the site would be ready in time, complaining openly to each other about “unrealistic deadlines.”

Privacy concerns piling up - The AP also found “insurance applicants have a host of personal information verified, including income and immigration status. The system connects to other federal computer networks, including ones at the Social Security Administration, IRS, Veterans Administration, Office of Personnel Management and the Peace Corps.”

[Watch Fox: Reps. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio and John Flemming, R-La., discuss ObamaCare in the 10 a.m. ET hour]

EDITORIALS ON LEFT, RIGHT BASH ADMINISTRATION - WaPo: “How is it that the Department of Health and Human Services launched the president’s signature domestic program with a computer system that could not handle the anticipated load?... Why the secrecy? The administration is not going to restore confidence through secrecy and damage control.”//WSJ: “…we called the hotline on Monday and the automated menu redirected us to Healthcare.gov, which in turn told us to get in touch with someone at the call center…. The White House could have asked Congress for a delay to get the exchanges right and avoid this debacle.”

MORE OBAMACARE DISRUPTIONS AHEAD - Despite assurances from President Obama that those who like their current health plans can keep them, Kaiser Health reports thousands of consumers will soon receive cancellation notices due to ObamaCare. The human resources experts for large employers at the National Business Group on Health will release today the full results of a survey that shows 54 percent of workers expect their health insurance premiums to rise and the quality of their health insurance to decline. 

UN-FAB FIVE - National Journal’s Ron Fournier offers five reasons “why Obama should be freaked out over Obamacare,” concluding thusly: “Dismissing the extent of the problem and reminding voters that Republicans fought the law -- which is essentially all Obama did in his Rose Garden remarks -- is a deflection, which shouldn't be confused with implementation or governing.”

[“…This is just another example of how challenging it really is when you turn something over to the government that could be better done in the private sector… I fear the worst is still to come.” – Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.” Watch Here ]

KASICH DODGES LEGISLATURE ON OBAMACARE - Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio, is outflanking his own Republican-controlled state legislature to accept ObamaCare’s expansion of Medicaid. Democrats are cheering Kasich’s move, which will add an estimated 275,000 middle-class Ohioans to the rolls of the state-federal insurance program originally created for impoverished Americans. After Republican lawmakers rejected the move, Kasich turned to the little-known state Controlling Board, which has the fiscal authority to appropriate the funds to comply with the law. The Cleveland Plain Dealer details Kasich’s controversial maneuver.

BAIER TRACKS: SUPREMELY INFLUENTIAL…“For all of the focus on the ObamaCare rollout, Web site failure and 1-800 numbers in President Obama’s Rose Garden remarks, we might be tempted to forget that it was the Supreme Court that made the moment possible. If the high court hadn’t ruled the ObamaCare mandate was really a tax and stated the law was constitutional last year, the world would look very different today. The Supreme Court goes about its term often under the radar until it makes a decision that changes the fabric of our society and how our country operates.  

On Monday, justices agreed to take on another case that could change our nation, this one seeking to clarify how states should determine who can be subject to the death penalty. [More here from the NYT.] It's been more than 10 years since the Supremes last tackled the issue, when they banned the execution of the ‘mentally retarded.’    

So remember, despite the focus of the story of the day and all the political spin, there are things happening all over Washington that have the potential to change the fabric of our country. You can count on us to bring them to you.” – Bret Baier

HIGH COURT WILL HEAR CASE AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING REGS - The Supreme Court will review the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate greenhouse gases. The case stems from a lawsuit filed against the EPA by the National Federation of Small Businesses and other business groups. Correspondent Shannon Bream considers how the issue before the court could jeopardize the EPA’s push to block coal-fired power plants and how Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is pushing legislation to limit the EPA’s powers.

WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...WSJ’s Allysia Finley takes a look at how administration policies and progressive groups contribute to the making of a solar billionaire: “SolarCity and its competitors… implicitly benefit from energy policies like renewable mandates, fracking moratoriums and greenhouse-gas regulations that drive up electricity prices and enable the company to charge its customers more for solar power.”

Got a TIP from the RIGHT or LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM
 

POLL CHECK - Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 43.7 percent//Disapprove – 51.3 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 16.8 percent//Wrong Track – 75.2 percent

BLOOMBERG BLITZES VIRGINIA GOV RACE - During the final two weeks of the campaign, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun control group will spend $1.1 million to boost Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, Politico reports. The National Rifle Association’s Victory Fund has spent $466,000 to slam McAuliffe’s support of stricter gun control measures according to Roll Call.

YOU HAVE A SEAT ON THE PANEL - Here’s what viewers had to say about Monday’s “Special Report with Bret Baier”All-Star Panel via Bing Pulse: Republicans, Democrats, independents, men and women agreed when NPR’s Mara Liasson said, “a smarter government can do good things for middle class people.” Democrats agreed with Peter Wehner of Commentary Magazine that the roll-out of ObamaCare is not working. Watch the All-Star panel tackle ObamaCare’s problems here.

Viewer response surged to a peak of 21,000 votes per-minute when Wehner said that President Obama “is going to burn up his credibility” because it is going to be very hard to fix ObamaCare’s Web site. Men and women strongly agreed with the statement from Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.: “The inability to set up a Web site where people can buy health insurance does not bode well for the complicated elements of this law that are yet to be ruled out.” Take a deep dive in the data here. And make sure to add your voice to the panel.

[President Obama’s pick to head the Department of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, formerly represented Michael Zanakis, “who was sentenced to 30 months in prison for planting a fried rat’s tail in his son’s Happy Meal… as part of a failed extortion attempt.” From The Daily Caller.]

WHAT TO CUT? A BETTER SEQUESTER - President Obama warned of dire consequences from caps on automatic increases to federal spending, known in Washington as “sequestration.” But since the reductions began as part of the 2011 debt-limit deal, seemingly few have noticed and voters have mostly expressed support for the measure. With the next round of sequestration caps due in January, Correspondent Doug McKelway considers what’s been learned so far and how the next round of reductions could best be implemented in the first of a four-part Fox News series starting today. 

UNION BOSS TO DEMS: DON’T TOUCH OUR ENTITLEMENTS - AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka delivered a stern warning to those seeking to make changes to entitlements in upcoming budget negotiations during a Monday address in Las Vegas. Trumka emphasized he means traditional union allies too: “This warning goes double for Democrats…we will never forget. We will never forgive. And we will never stop working to end your career.” HuffPo has more.

PASS INTERFERENCE - The tribal leader who is pushing for the Washington Redskins to drop their name has problems of his own. From The Daily Caller: “Ray Halbritter, the disputed tribal leader pushing for the Washington Redskins to change their team name, employs a crisis communications firm that also represents CashForGold.com and a lawyer who represents IRS scandal figure Lois Lerner as he struggles to protect a casino empire that disenfranchises valid members of the Oneida Nation.”

HIPSTER CHICKS - Urban farmers in Britain are finding ways to protect their poultry in traffic: florescent attire. From The Telegraph (including a picture of neon chickens crossing the street): “Owners are dressing their domestic flocks in new fluorescent bibs, which have been specially designed to keep the creatures seen in the autumn evenings.” See the advertisement for “High Vis Chicken Jackets” here.

[Ed. note: Why did the chicken cross the road? To get away from the hipster trying to make her wear a florescent smock.]

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…“…It's hard to see where the president ever holds anybody in his administration accountable, particularly himself. I mean, he is after all the commander in chief.…The fact is they had three and a half years and they completely screwed it up. And the product, I mean, in some sense, it's saving them because if people were able to get access to the product, they would know that it isn't cheap, and it isn't good.” – Charles Krauthammer on “The O’Reilly Factor.

Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here. To catch Chris live online daily at 11:30 a.m. ET, click here.

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as digital politics editor based in Washington, D.C.  Additionally, he authors the daily "Fox News First” political news note and hosts “Power Play,” a feature video series, on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on the network, including "The Kelly File," "Special Report with Bret Baier," and "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.”  He also provides expert political analysis for Fox News coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.